Feb 24, 2012, 9:00 PM EDT
The primary complaint among New Jersey Devils fans is that they believe Marek Zidlicky costs too much – which is pretty reasonable since they’re trying to re-sign Zach Parise and have that pesky bankruptcy thing to deal with.
As it turns out, it will also cost the Devils a big package, even if it’s more about quantity than quality.
The New Jersey Devils confirmed that they sent the Wild defenseman Kurtis Foster, young forward Nick Palmieri, winger Stephane Veilleux, a 2012 second-round pick and a conditional 2013 third round pick for Zidlicky. (Stay tuned for the conditions of that third-rounder.)
New Jersey is likely banking on the fact that Zidlicky was once a second or third-tier talent among offensive defensemen. (That’s not meant as an insult, by the way.) The Devils’ defense isn’t what it once was, so the hope is that he could push a hot team to true contender status.
Again, the sticking point for some is that he has one more season on his deal, with a $4 million cap hit in 2012-13. (Naturally, the flip side is that the Devils might be glad he has that extra year if he ends up being a big success.)
Lamoriello keeps upping the ante in Martin Brodeur‘s swan song years, but he’s frequently done his boldest work around trade deadlines anyway.
(OK, his boldest work usually involved compulsively firing head coaches, but you know what I mean.)
Update: 22-year-old Nick Palmieri hasn’t been a smash-hit in his career so far, but the 79th pick of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft makes the deal a little sweeter for the Wild. His ceiling seems limited, but perhaps he’ll flourish in a change of scenery.
Beyond potentially giving the Wild a solid piñata swing or two in the next two drafts, it’s also a deal that is soaking with nostalgia.
After a couple cups of coffee with the Atlanta Thrashers, Foster truly started his NHL career with the Wild as he spent parts of four seasons (2005-06 to 08-09) in Minnesota before a catastrophic injury nearly ended his career. (It also rightfully heated up the “Let’s get rid of dopey old touch-up icing” debates).
Foster’s bounced around the NHL since then, with stops in Tampa Bay, Anaheim, Edmonton and New Jersey. His value is iffy because of defensive flaws, but he has great size and a formidable slap shot. It’s hard to be too tough on him because his mere presence in the NHL is pretty inspiring in itself.
Veilleux also enjoyed some of his best days with Minnesota. The 30-year-old forward played parts of six seasons with the Wild before bouncing back and forth from the Lightning/Devils and the minors.
Perhaps Foster might find his footing again in the place he enjoyed his greatest successes, but I’d guess the best takeaways are the picks and merely getting something for a long-time defenseman who went sour with Mike Yeo in power.
I’d say Wild GM Chuck Fletcher did pretty well while Lamoriello rolled the dice in an interesting way, but what do you think? Fire away, hockey fans – particularly those of the Wild and Devils.
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